Rethinking Food Security (Sage 2016) (5. Climate Change, Vulnerability and…
Rethinking Food Security (Sage 2016)
920mn in developing world- not enough to eat, food insecurity- dietary intake of insufficient and appropriate food to meet the needs of growth, activity and maintenance of good health
Protein- energy malnutrition, loss of body weight and stunted growth- 200mn children in developing world.
Malnourishment concerns both underfed and overfed, raises profound questions about health, wellbeing and food security
Explore the meaning of food security, how its intertwined with a range of other pressing concerns such as consumption, climate change and population levels
2. Tracing the evolution of food security
Wide interest as an object of study across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines.
Applied as a policy tool in various sectors of government, growth of "food security" mirrors growth of meanings attached to term "sustainable development"
Term first appeared in the 1974 world food conference, drought in major grain producing regions with long term rises in consumption.
A local society vulnerable to seasonal food insecurity, might be tipped into a situation of structural malnutrition and chronic food insecurity by a tipping event.
By the mid-1980s, food security was no longer limited to the arithmetic of food supply and populations, efforts to understand the material basis of people's survival strategies- knowledge, farming practices, household activities.
By the World Food Summit in Nov 1996, the definition of food security had evolved further to reflect social and cultural influences over food preferences, the Rome Declaration- half the number of those undernourished by 2015
Efforts to enshrine the human right of adequate food, however no effect mechanism to ensure its fulfilment, however the principle of national sovereignty restricts the intervention of foreign governments even when states are failing to protect their own citizens. Failure of government and international will. More practical solutions at the local level.
Hunger is a function of social inequality, poverty and the failure of entitlements
Developed countries, lack sufficient money to by the products of the modern food system, while some people are striving to reduce their food intake
US 11% of all households were food insecure because of a lack of sufficient food, 21.2 million 2003 on food stamp programme
Forms part of absolute and relative social deprivation, excluded from prevailing patterns of social life
Also, the issue of food desert, describing urban areas of social exclusion deprived of food retail outlets that can offer a wide range of fresh, healthy produce. Cheaper and instant gratification unhealthy foods.
3. Feeding the world: the Challenge of Population Growth
Approach to food scarcity looks at demographic growth, provide sufficient food to support the global human population. Neo-Malthusians
Saw a critical turning point in the 1980s when the world population began growing faster than the production of cereal grains, however less land attributed to yields and food consumed by global population fell as incomes rise and globalisation diversify's dietary diversification. In the South meat consumption growing 5% a year over past few decades.
Taken as a whole, food production has kept pace with population growth , plus we have slower population growth than during 1960-80s
However, masks regional differences, developed world compared to global south, preoccupation with numbers masks different levels of consumption between countries, fertility rates for example
As incomes rise, consumption shifts to protein rich foods, China- meat consumption per capita has doubled between 1990-2006
4. The interlocking of Food and Energy Security
July 2008, a barrel of Brent crude reached an all time high, there was excess demand over supply and this rise was passed onto the price of food very quickly
A quarter of price increase was down to increasing land use of ethanol
Into the future, there will be growing competition between agricultural production for food or fuel , parameters set by the prevailing price of oil and the path of scientific development in rolling out biolfuel tech
Rising prices in both global north and south were translated into increasing numbers of hungry and malnourished
Malawi- the increasing cost of fertilisers mean farmers have to raise the cost of maize causing severe hardship and increase already high malnutrition and poverty rates
Part of the solution to food security must be found in the field of energy
5. Climate Change, Vulnerability and Food Security
Another significant challenge to improving future prospects for food security
The connection with food security are manifold
While Ozone Depletion Regime is well established and is one of the truly successful examples of international environmental cooperation, the challenge presented by climate change is far-reaching and intractable , not yet resulted in a comparable level of commitment needed by the international community to address the problem
Without adaptation, the tropics are likely to experience a significant deterioration in food security, the prospect of global warming and extreme weather events reducing productivity of local agri-food systems is cause for concern
In 2003 heatwave across Europe, crop yields fell more than 20%, reduced soil moisture and increased water consumption in agriculture
Global food security will be severely jeopardised unless large adaptation measures are undertaken quickly
HIGHER TEMPERATURES IN THE SAHEL- from late 1960s to early 1990s- prolonged drought causing crop and livestock productivity , countless hunger-related deaths and unprecedented rates of migration from north to south , expanding migrant and refugee populations
Unprecedented temperatures, eliminating crop production, rural livelihoods collapse and livestock dies, biggest losers from climate change are likely to be the people most exposed to the worst of the impacts and least able to cope
Response is about reducing vulnerability an enhancing resilience, equitably and sustainability. Adaptation- building food security, autonomous or planned adaptations
6. Globalisation and Food Security
Increasing volumes of internationally traded food and a process of dietary convergence
Production- Process of comparative advantage works against tropical countries- patterns of production established during the colonial era reduces the generation of foreign exchange , plus a movement towards high-value fresh produce and third emergence of large-scale agro-exports of bulk commodities
Pattern of boom and bust in the case of coffee, Kenya lost in the boom to Vietnam because of their lower-cost Arabia beans , big companies like Nestle invested and with coffee production growing at twice the rate of demand, price collapse was predictable , the big companies profited, this is why fairtrade has become so important
Agri export schemes, delivering high value products into distant northern markets, Kenya massively increased production of green beans and cut flowers, Chile fruits and farmed salmon, don't increase food security because they are largely disconnected from the rest of society
Unfortunately widespread use of subsidies by the EU and USA has enabled them to flood local markets with grain at prices below the cost of production, creating huge disincentives for local production of food staples . Need to promote domestic production alongside export agriculture, creating food security and sovereignty for all citizens
Consumption- nutrition transition, obesity growing and burden falling on the poor around the world. Globalisation leading to dietary convergence and dietary adaptation, bad foods and processed food, come from global economic and global health policies, integrating the global food market and proliferating transnational food companies, encouraging uneven development of dietary habits between rich and poor
7. Food Soverignty
The right of people to define their own food and agriculture, to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and control their own markets, rooted in a rights based framework insisting upon food being treated as a basic human right
Significance shifts to the family farm, a radical challenge to existing assumptions about the way food and agricultural policies have been developed, from the rural poor compared to the FAO
The EU and USA continue to domestically support their farmers while detracting others from across the world
Inseparable issue of hunger and malnutrition coupled with food poverty, highlighting calls for social justice, human rights, and community empowerment
Trade liberalisation in food and agriculture has not delivered global food security to date basic principle that each country should endeavour to produce enough food to feed its own people